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What Do 5 Pros Have to Say About Minimalism & Clutter?

At its core, the philosophy of minimalism is defined by “owning fewer possessions” and “living intentionally” with only what you need or value most, in order to attribute time and money toward what’s truly meaningful. Excess possessions are distractions from what matters most to you in life and temporary quick-fixes for a burst of good feelings. A minimalist lifestyle focuses on finding freedom from the power that spending money, and owning more and better, can have on you.

Financial minimalism is a natural extension of this philosophy: Buying less begets saving more for important goals or things that bring real value to your life. To help you embrace this way of life, we’re spotlighting five minimalist and decluttering pros. See what they have to say!

Joshua Becker

Minimalist guru, Wall Street Journal’s Best-Selling author of “The More of Less” and “The Minimalist Home,” and founder of website Becoming Minimalist

Remember What You Liked in the First Place

“Life isn’t perfect — it never has been and never will be. There is no perfect job, no perfect house and no perfect marriage. Even the roses have thorns. Over time, it seems, our natural tendency is to focus on the negatives rather than the positives. It seems to be the natural pull on our brains. But we can reverse this tendency by intentionally rolling back the clock in our mind. When you remember what you loved about your circumstances in the first place, you are again focusing back on the good.”

Takeaway: Before you give in to your desire to upgrade to larger home or trade in your car for the latest model, think about why you liked it in the first place as a tactic to avoid unnecessary, excessive spending.

Matt D’Avella

Minimalist ambassador, director/filmmaker of “Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things,” “The Ground Up Show” podcaster and YouTuber

A Minimalist Approach to Personal Finances

“There’s a basic formula to win at personal finance and it’s this: Spend Less Money Than You Make. In practice though, it’s not that easy. Money seems to completely slip through our fingers… Don’t fall into the trap of lifestyle creep. Whenever we get a pay raise, we start to make a little bit more money or we land a really big project, the first thing that we want to do is upgrade our apartment, buy a better car or increase our lifestyle. So then that way, we’re in some way rewarding this win.”

Takeaway: More mindful spending and keeping our lifestyle in check anytime we experience a boost in income can help shape a comfortable, secure future. Consider putting your pay increase toward your big goals, while celebrating your success within moderation.

Graham Stephan

Real estate agent, investor and YouTuber

Why I’m a Financial Minimalist

“Having a big mortgage payment or having a big car payment or having anything that I need to be financially obligated to just makes me feel trapped as though I’m a hamster on a wheel just running to keep it going. Having that type of stress really just causes me to resent the work I do and really stifles my creativity when it comes to pursuing my own passions, because it really just drains the fun out of it.”

Takeaway: What drives your hard work? Are you working long hours and side gigs to support an inflated superfluous lifestyle? You may be sacrificing passions, job fulfillment and a healthy work life if your top goal is to be able to afford and accumulate luxuries.

Marie Kondo

Organizational consultant, tidying expert and star of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix

Keeping Things That Spark Joy

“Can you truthfully say that you treasure something buried so deeply in a closet or drawer that you have forgotten its existence? If things had feelings, they would certainly not be happy. Free them from the prison to which you have relegated them. Help them leave that desert isle to which you have exiled them. Let them go with gratitude.”

Takeaway: Marie’s tidying KonMari Method™ differs from minimalism, but both methods still share the value of what a clutter detox can do for you. Discard (and sell!) items that you no longer cherish or that no longer serve you. Someone else benefits from your hand-me-down, and you make some extra cash.

Tasha Cochran

Co-Founder of website One Big Happy Life, lawyer, wealth expert, YouTuber and The Financial Diet collaborator

Think of the Storage and Maintenance Costs

“Stopping to consider how you plan to use something, the amount of care involved with keeping that item, and figuring out exactly where you plan to store it before you buy it can go a long way towards curbing those impulse purchases.”

Takeaway: Clutter-free solutions for bringing new items home could be to follow a one-in-one-out rule, and borrow, share or swap items with friends or family. Tasha explains that this way, you use more items without the additional hassle or expense of storing them.

The minimalist movement continues to permeate, right alongside the rise in popularity of van-life traveling, tiny homes and capsule wardrobes. If these pros inspired you to change your spending habits, then check out more tips by reading 10 Steps to Declutter Your Finances and a 4-Part Minimalist Guide: What Can I Live Without?

What is a financial minimalist — and how could being one improve your financial life?


The material presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.